Republican State Senate Leadership responded Tuesday to the University System of New Hampshire Trustees’ request to restore University funding to 2009 levels, a $16 million dollar increase between 2015 and 2016, in exchange for another two years tuition freeze.
Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley says he expects the University System to maintain their tuition freeze by increasing "the cost effectiveness of the institution," not funding. However, Bradley says the University System is a priority for Republicans, and he hopes an improving economy will bring in increased revenues to the state, allowing the institution's appropriation to increase accordingly.
Senate Finance Chair Jeannie Forrester of Meredith was more restrained, asking for spending data to be made public before debating budget items.
The University System trustees unanimously agreed on their budget request, which was prepared according to deadlines set by Governor Hassan.
Board chair Pamela Diamantis says the two additional years of budget reductions would allow the class of 2017 to graduate without a single tuition increase, adding "I think that’s just a great testament to trying to drive affordability."
In addition, the University has offered further tuition reductions to New Hampshire students in specific workforce-related Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and vocational programs. In her six-year tenure on the University System Board, Diamantis says, "it's certainly the first time we've looked at really aligning what the states needs are and what types of graduates we're producing."